Did anyone actually LIKE Zhuge Liang in the novel? o_O

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Did anyone actually LIKE Zhuge Liang in the novel? o_O

Unread postby Bitmap » Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:02 pm

NOVEL-ONLY DISCUSSION.

I'm rereading the threekingdoms.com version of RTK (haven't read it for years, so forgot a lot of the events), and I've just finished Chi Bi, which was an AMAZING "arc".

Zhuge Liang's appearance definitely contributed a great deal to the Chi Bi portion, especially the part where he debates with most of Wu's advisers. However, at the same time, Zhuge Liang's 'godliness' is also ruining the story for me.

OK, I know WHY he is portrayed that way. I KNOW he wasn't like that in history, and the novel is pro-Shu, which I don't particularly have a problem with (It's my favourite book ever. Also, I love the author's portrayal of Zhang Fei).

You know how Sima Yi is portrayed in Dynasty Warriors? That sort of evil, snide henchman kind of persona? After reading the chapters that lead up to Zhou Yu's death, that's exactly how ZL seems (Even though LG's Zhou Yu is faaar from innocent). He seems to like to patronise people at every opportunity (That's why Jia Xu, Lu Su and Xun Yu are my favourite geniuses of the era, because they're two of the most humble people in the novel, if not the most humble).

These two paragraphs which take place during Zhou Yu's funeral, just take the cake, however:

"You exasperated literally to death the man whose body lies up there. To come here as a mourner is an open insult to the South Land. It is as good as to say they have no other left."

"Zhuge Liang turned to look, and he saw it was no other than Pang Tong, or the Young Phoenix. Then Zhuge Liang laughed in his turn, and they two hand in hand went down into the ship, where they talked heart to heart for a long time."

Wow! I mean, wow! All this Combined with the fact that Zhuge Liang is the smartest guy in the novel, and that he seems to be able to predict anything, Zhuge Liang is somehow making the other generals less interesting, and in turn 'spoiling' the novel for me, personally. It's like...like using a Gameshark or Action Replay to get through the novel.

I tend to dislike smug people with everything going for them, and Zhuge Liang seems to be exactly that. I don't know, people will say that the novel is full of egoistic, ruthless people, but they usually don't last long (Like Cai Mao, for example) or have something to make up for it (I like that even though Cao Cao had a huge ego and was power hungry, he was STILL open to "constructive" criticism A LOT of the time)

What I want to know is: did anyone actually like the novel's Zhuge Liang? Because of the novel's Pro-Shuness, it's easy to like any of Shu's 'main' generals, but with Zhuge Liang, I can't see anything likeable about him.

I'm hoping people can give me more of a perspective on this, and please don't start your reply with "You are too simple." :P
Last edited by Bitmap on Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby FuguNabe » Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:18 pm

Though I don't particular see things on the same wavelegth as Shu-ist I quite enjoy reading about Kongming in the novel actually. I didn't take it seriously though. I consider him like Gandalf with all his mystical arts hoodoo. It's usually obvious where things didn't happen historically most of the time with him. I find it fun how he always gets out of sticky situations with his intellect and wit. It's all good.

The only things I didn't like about him is that in the novel Liu Bei tells him to get rid of Liu Chan if he's a fool in his deathbed and Kongming couldn't do it. Another from the novel is how Kongming might have been stirring Pang Tong up to become somewhat reckless.

That's about all I guess because other than that I find it amusing how Kongming was made to be so godly yet he couldn't overcome Wei. Obviously to conform with history. I would be very surprise if LGZ disregards history even with his obvious bias.
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Unread postby Sima Hui » Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:21 pm

You bring up an interesting point.

Zhuge Liang can be cruel sometimes in the novel, but when you see what has been done to him (or rather, attempted) by Zhou Yu, then it makes him look like the good guy. Zhuge's "mocking" of Zhou Yu after he died is basically him saying covertly, "Your foolish envy and paranoia has destroyed you, a great man, and only damaged your kingdom, a mortal sin for a general and a strategist."

Zhuge Liang is never arrogant in the novel as far as I am aware (apart from typical bravado to demoralise the enemy) and he is often quite humble. Zhuge also accepts advice from others, such as Ma Su and criticises himself when he loses the first Northern Campaign. I don't think he makes the other generals less interesting, since they are their own independent characters for the most part and have their own moments of glory.

Zhgue's godliness is what secures the reader (though usually only pro-Shu ones at that). Whenever he appears on the scene, you know he will save the day in some form or another, and that heartens me personally. A similar character is that of Sun Wukong in Journey to the West, or Superman if you are not familiar with the former. He gives the reader hope and one of the greatest pleasures of reading the novel is not wondering whether Zhuge Liang will find a way to overcome the enemy, but how he will do it.

For me, there can be few other characters as inviting and loveable as Zhuge Liang.
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Unread postby Jordan » Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:30 pm

I liked him. I didn't like him all the time. Sometimes he was an outright jerk or sometimes he did something that I thought was ridiculous (summoning the winds, countering King Mulu's magic, etc.). However, most of the time I enjoyed how crafty he was.
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Unread postby Jebusrocks » Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:05 pm

I loved him in the novel, he sounded all uber-like
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Unread postby Shadowlink » Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:09 pm

I love him but there are some times in the novel while I didnt like him.
He laughed at Pang Tong because he knows Pang Tong is smart enough to foil his plan? just like how Xu Shu told Pang Tong he he knows his plan.
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Unread postby Exar Kun » Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:30 pm

I find it hard to see how anyone could no like Kongming in the novel.
I loved him. Mind you, I was already a well established Shuist before I even cracked open the book.
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:30 pm

I'm going to agree with Bitmap here. Not just because of the whole Zhou Yu debacle and the fact that I favor Zhou Yu over Zhuge Liang no matter what the medium is, but when you have a flawless person getting his way no matter what, it's not really that entertaining.

Now, when he had to execute Ma Su? That was dramatic. Zhuge Liang was human, likable then. When he died at Wuzhang? That was tragic. It made him human.

Too bad that everything leading up to those parts was written to make him a superhuman. Reading about a person who wins at everything they do is really boring - it's when they meet difficulty that things become entertaining. I'm sorry, but too much of Zhuge Liang's role in the novel is:

Random General: The Wei army is attacking! They outnumber us fifty-to-one.
Zhuge Liang: Build a snowman in the middle of the field.
Sima Yi: They have built a snowman in the middle of the field! Zhuge Liang must have a plan! Retreat!

Like I said, when Zhuge Liang met with difficulties in the later chapters? When he either overcame them or was consumed by them? Then he was interesting to me. I actually started to cheer for him, because he'd become human. Before that, though, I disliked him. Thoroughly.
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Unread postby Shadowlink » Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:36 am

It made him human.
I didnt like how he tried to go against faith and made Wei Yan knock over the candle though.
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Unread postby Zhilong » Fri Jun 29, 2007 2:42 am

Sun Gongli wrote:
Too bad that everything leading up to those parts was written to make him a superhuman. Reading about a person who wins at everything they do is really boring - it's when they meet difficulty that things become entertaining. I'm sorry, but too much of Zhuge Liang's role in the novel is:

Random General: The Wei army is attacking! They outnumber us fifty-to-one.
Zhuge Liang: Build a snowman in the middle of the field.
Sima Yi: They have built a snowman in the middle of the field! Zhuge Liang must have a plan! Retreat!

Like I said, when Zhuge Liang met with difficulties in the later chapters? When he either overcame them or was consumed by them? Then he was interesting to me. I actually started to cheer for him, because he'd become human. Before that, though, I disliked him. Thoroughly.


ZL does meet difficulty quite a few times and sometimes is even unable to overcome them eg. the novel describes a defeat for ZL at the hands of Sima Yi which did not historically occur.

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I think the problem with the novel is this, it is basically the ancient equivalent version of open source software where everyone adds in some changes to make ZL look better but some are better done than others and some just make him look not nice. In any case ZL IS a politician, it is not necessarily his job to be nice. However, his placing Wei Yan on the BBQ menu along with the Sima's was a pile of bs imo and i really disliked him for doing that even though i am no fan of Wei Yan's deeds after ZL's death.

Ultimately he held the kingdom in his fingertips and yet he still served the retard emperor with humility and treated him with respect so i guess he passed the ultimate test.

Jia Xu's humility was merely for survival purposes and he is really quite devious.
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